Pre-Powell Endorsement Smear

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The Drudge Report, a sleazy website that has officially jumped the shark this campaign season (by relentless posting often spurious pro-McCain, anti-Obama links and/or omitting links to pro-Obama news), started what will be a relentless smear job against Colin Powell if, and I stress if, he endorses Obama on Meet the Press tomorrow.

The picture I’m referring to is down now, perhaps because Drudge realized no one knows what Powell will do and thought he might find it offensive. The picture in question showed Powell dancing with a couple of black singers or rappers. The implication?

The endorsement, if it comes, is racial.

And Colin Powell, the respected general and former Secretary of State is, just another n****r.

Too harsh?

Not for that sleaze ball. Matt Drudge is a partisan hack of vicious and evil intent no better than Karl Rove. No one is willing to cross him and many pander, but his site, surging traffic aside, is a dying animal. It is merely a propaganda organ for a soon to be discredited niche party called the GOP.

As a symbolic act of protest, I am removing Drudge permanently from my blogroll. I encourage everyone with a conscience to do the same. This kind of brutish extremism must be marginalized.

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Russian Cyberattack on Georgia

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Apparently, the Russians launched a cyberattack concurrently and in coordination with their military attack on Georgia. It is, according to the New York Times, a first.

This kind of attack seems destined to be a permanent feature of future wars. The story, by John Markoff, is here.


Is Google Making Us Stoopid?

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Nicholas Carr’s article in the Atlantic Monthly has got a lot of people talking about the changes Google, or, more accurately, the Internet (they’re practically synonymous), is making to the way we think. There is the usual hand-wringing that accompanies any new technology or medium, and worries that some part of our basic makeup will be lost forever. Others dismiss these concerns and cite the existence of this kind of worrying whenever society changes.

In truth, they’re both right. The Internet has and will continue to change the way we live, work, and think. And as a result, some part of the way we’ve done things in the past has changed. Biologically speaking, it is certain that routine use of the Internet will shape our neural circuitry and continually reinforce those pathways. Short attention spans, browsing, and what-have-you might be a natural result, if, in fact, the Internet is the prevailing medium through which you extend your brain.

But wherever you fall in this debate, there is an important point that should not be overlooked. Humans (and life, in general) are amazingly adaptable. It has only been a dozen years or so since the Internet really became deeply entrenched in our lives. In that time, many people have gone from the old way of doing things to so pervasive a new way of doing things that articles can appear that question the new way. 12 years!

This ability to adapt ensures that nothing is really lost forever. These abilities are just dormant. The human brain is constantly pruning old and reinforcing new neural pathways. If all the electricity disappeared tomorrow, I exaggerate only slightly by writing that within a few years we’d see a renaissance of long-form journalism and the return of the 19th century novel.

In the meantime, the use of Google and the brain functioning that it encourages are simply a new form of intelligence. Is it an advance? Sure. Like the first monkey to pick up a rock and smash a nut, it will likely be built upon and new modes of thinking and communication will come into existence. Is it ultimately good?

My guess is yes. But one thing is for sure, Google (and the Internet) is not making us stoopid. It is simply making us different than before. And that’s what evolution is all about.

Here’s a number of thinkers on this topic from Edge.org


Ranking the Best Political Blogs

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Updated 9/22/08: I’ve been reading these blogs and others ceaselessly as the presidential campaign gets into high gear. I have updated based on now intensive reading.

There are, literally, dozens of worthy political blogs out there. With such an abundance, one can’t (or won’t) possibly read (or even skim) them all. That said, this is a list of what I believe are the top political blogs of 2008. They are chosen on a purely subjective, qualitative scale with an eye towards reflecting both sides of the partisan divide. Choose one from the right, one from the left, and one news blog, and you’ll never be out of the loop again.

10. The Corner / National Review – Brief and sarcastic, the Corner presents the William F. Buckley viewpoint (philosophically, not stylistically) on the events of the day. Always good for a sense of what the dark side is thinking, and a fine place to recharge your batteries, the Corner is a quickie look at whatever stick is currently up conservatives’ asses. [The Corner]

9. CNN Political Ticker – Marshalling forces from different parts of the CNN organization, this blog is the place to go for an informal look behind the news of CNN. It’s updated frequently and covers the world of politics authoritatively. For a political junkie, it’s a good place to get your fix. [CNN Political Ticker]

8. Mark Halperin / The Page – Mark Halperin is a veteran journalist who founded The Note for ABC News, and has taken his show to Time. This is a solid read every day, with a strong editorial filter that weeds out a lot of the B.S. that one must contend with on other blogs. Halperin is well connected and influential and The Page reflects the intelligent (slightly right of center) journalism he’s spent his life devoted to, without sacrificing a sense of humor. [The Page]

7. Ben Smith / Politico – I find myself coming back to Ben Smith more and more often. He is able to find the perfect seam between news and gossip and often has genuine scoops. He’s always informative and has a strong insider perspective on the political scene. [Ben Smith]

6. Glenn Greenwald / Salon – Though not really a blogger, Glenn Greenwald makes the strongest case for upholding the constitution of any scribe on the Internet. He is a relentless and effective writer who doesn’t pull punches while presenting the evidence that makes his case (he’s former constitutional lawyer). He’s a pleasure to read and almost always manages to get the blood boiling (if you’re into that sort of thing), while taking on government abuse and hypocrisy. [Glenn Greenwald]

5. Andrew Sullivan / The Atlantic Monthly – I have been reading Andrew Sullivan more recently and believe him to be the rare partisan with a decent moral compass and sense of honesty. He posts frequently, throughout the day, and links to and comments on almost everything worth reading about. He is ostensibly a conservative, but, as I say, he’s not an blind ideologue. A daily must. [Andrew Sullivan]

4. Daily Kos – There are many reasons why Daily Kos is a must-read; numerous informed and unique perspectives, the daily congressional overview and analysis, the unalloyed (yet not MoveOn.org stupid) liberality, and The Great Kos (Marko Moulitsas – the man who started the trailblazing site) himself. But the single most important reason to go to Daily Kos is because they actively dispute and rebut virtually every thrust of the Republi-Conservative knife with accuracy and proof. That alone makes it worth the trip. [Daily Kos]

3. Josh Marshall / Talking Points Memo – A slightly more objective Daily Kos, TPM is essential political reading for the simple reason that Josh Marshall is a very effective journalist. Marshall knows his stuff and does a great job squeezing relevant news out of what may seem to be a dead issue. Well researched and clearly a labor of love, the site always has something to surprise and engage. [TPM]

2. Real Clear Politics – In a short period of time, Real Clear Politics has become the clearinghouse of the political landscape. If you can’t find it here, it may not exist. The poll summary data is an invaluable resource, the links, combed from far and wide, give you the day in a snapshot, and the depth and breadth political coverage means that you can scrap your RSS feeds and just visit RCP. In addition, the sister website Real Clear Markets performs largely the same purpose for the financial world and helps give readers a comprehensive picture of the most important news of the day. [Real Clear Politics]

1. Coming soon.

Honorable Mention
Kevin Drum / Mother Jones (formerly Washington Monthly) – Always a fresh perspective.
The Caucus / New York Times
The Trail / Washington Post
The Plank / The New Republic

Dishonorable Mention
Drudge Report – A sleazy propaganda organ of GOP
Huffington Post – An influential site, I know, but I find it overwhelming. Needs a redesign.
Instapundit – I’m not there.
The Fix / Washington Post – The pic of Chris Cillizza makes him look like a pompous ass.


Microsoft Withdraws Yahoo Offer

Sunday, May 4, 2008

This is a good move for Microsoft. Yahoo is a great property, the #1 web portal in the world, but their search is faltering and without search they won’t have the ad revenue to compete with Google, Facebook, and whoever else comes along. The $33 offer was fair, and Yahoo isn’t holding many cards.

Watch for Microsoft’s stock to shoot up on Monday.

P.S. I think the deal isn’t really dead. We’ll see.